The voting for South Korea parliamentary election started on Wednesday (April 15) despite the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic but with all necessary precautions, including hand masks and sanitizers.
Voters have been asked to come out to vote wearing masks and stand at least 1m apart at the polling booths across the country. The health workers are noting the temperature of each voters and disinfecting their hands before allowing them to enter the polling stations.
The voting is scheduled to take place for three hundred seats at the South Korean National Assembly being contested and the candidates from thirty-five parties are in the fray. The main contest, however, is between the ruling Minjoo (Democratic) Party and the main opposition, the conservative United Future Party.
It is learnt that over 11 million people, nearly 26% of the population of South Korea, have cast their votes in advance, including some by post. The early turnout has touched a record high this year and this is the first time that 18-year-olds have been allowed to exercise their voting rights.
It is to be noted that election has never been postponed in South Korea and the presidential election was held even during the Korean War in 1952.
The biggest challenge for officials to hold the election amid coronavirus pandemic was to avoid the risk of infection. After much discussion, it was decided that anyone with a temperature above 37.5C would be taken to a separate voting area and will not be allowed to mingle with other voters. The patients who had tested positive for coronavirus were given the option of mailing their ballot.